Thank God for the University of Washington.
If it wasn’t for a last play touchdown to keep UW’s bowl hopes alive, this would have been suicide watch weekend in the Pacific Northwest.
Put it this way, I ran the half marathon in Seattle on Sunday morning before going to the Seahawks–Chiefs matchup on Sunday afternoon. I had no expectations that sitting through that display of crappy football, or “garbage” as coach Pete Carroll called it, would be more painful than the mile and a half climb out of Seward Park, but it was. I am hobbling around like an old man today but my body feels better than the memory of watching Kansas City come out and put up over 500 yards on the Seahawks defense.
Let’s just get to the autopsy while I still have the energy to be grumpy about it.
Play of the Game:
It came early. On Seattle’s first drive, the Seahawks faced a fourth down and literally two inches. Because Seattle has absolutely no running game, everyone would usually be expecting a quarterback sneak, except, of course, Matt Hasselbeck, who was playing with a cast on his broken left hand.
So, the thinking is that Marshawn Lynch is in as running back. He’s a beast that rarely goes down at first contact, which is a good thing because Seattle’s offensive line gets absolutely no push at all. So, if he did go down at first contact, he’d be stuck with negative yards on every rushing play.
Of course, the Chiefs would have been thinking the same thing, so I was interested to see what would happen. When Seattle lined up, they put Golden Tate along the sideline and Brandon Stokely in the slot. The corner on Tate was hard on the line of scrimmage, playing a very physical position. The corner on Stokely was giving a five-yard cushion.
The obvious place to go was a quick throw to Stokely and for him to fall forward and get the first down. Where did Hasselbeck go? That’s right, 10 yards down the sideline to a blanketed Tate, who couldn’t come up with the catch.
It was at that point I knew the game was going to be a bad one. I don’t know if the play call was to go to Tate and try and catch the Chiefs off guard. Whatever the play was, it should have been focused on getting the first down. There is no bigger deal in football that getting the first down and keeping the drive going, especially on fourth down. I mean, this is not USC versus Slippery Rock here. This is the NFL, people!
1. Special Teams – In the first quarter, Seahawks special teams blocked a field goal attempt and a punt. The punt was returned for a touchdown.
Return man Leon Washington scared the Chiefs enough to have them kicking off with squib kicks and short high kickoffs. Washington’s yardage was down, he returned five kicks for 15 yards, but the location was always out past the 30-yard line.
2. Jamal Charles – What can you say about Charles except that even when the Seahawks defense had him stopped behind the line of scrimmage, he still gained positive yardage. Charles rushed 22 times for 173 yards.
I know the Seahawks defense is missing Red Bryant and Colin Cole as run stuffers but watching Charles made it hard for me to believe they would have stopped him. It wasn’t that KC’s rushing offense was that great either because Thomas Jones rushed 20 times for 68 yards behind the same offensive line.
3. KC Pass Offense – I can’t give full credit to Matt Cassel or to Dwayne Bowe for this one and I really don’t want to heap any more praise on the opponent. Cassel threw 22 completions for 233 yards. Bowe caught 13 passes for 170 yards. The vast majority of those completions came on quick slants and out patterns that Seattle’s secondary failed to adjust to for the whole freaking game.
In fact, KC’s offense as a whole was plain, vanilla, and boring but against Seattle, kept gaining 4-6 yards every stinking play. Ugly, old school, bland but it worked. Dammit.
It was all bad so let’s just get to the Ugly.
1. Intentional Grounding – Let me give you two scenerios.
In the first, Matt Cassel is in the grasp of a defender, outside the tackle box and flings the ball out of bounds past the line of scrimmage to an area that has no Kansas City receiver within 10 yards.
In the second, Matt Hasselbeck is in the pocket without a Chiefs defender within 2 yards of him. He flings the ball down the sideline 15 yards where his receiver would have been if the two receivers running routes had not run into each other and fallen down.
Okay, got that? Now, here’s the question for you. Which one got called for intentional grounding? If you said Hasselbeck, you’d be right. I don’t know about you but I distinctly recall a phrase in the rule book, and yes, I checked, that said the quarterback must be under pressure for it to be intentional grounding.
2. Offense – It’s probably not fair to heap scorn on the individuals since so much of what went wrong was a complete meltdown from the top down.
The Seahawks looked like they hadn’t watched a minute of film on the Chiefs in preparation for this game. The play calling was abysmal, the adjustments took forever to make, and the execution was horrific.
Seattle didn’t get a first down until there was five minutes left in the second quarter. KC had 300 yards by halftime in total offense.
Despite the overwhelming statistical advantage, Seattle came out of halftime and scored a touchdown to make the score, 21-17.
3. Run Defense – I believe a lot of this can be blamed on the fact that Jamal Charles was a stud, but too many tackles were made by safeties Lawyer Milloy and Earl Thomas. Charles was hit at the line or behind it quite a bit, but tackles weren’t completed, Charles got away, and linebackers over ran the play.
4. Run Blocking – Seattle’s offensive line, particularly guards Stacey Andrews and Mike Gibson and center Chris Spencer, were horrible at getting any kind of push as well as sustaining their blocks. While the pass protection has improved, the run blocking has gotten worse.
Seattle ended up with 24 yards rushing. That’s a full game total, not a half or quarter or even a drive. Yes, it really is that bad.
Seattle faces the Carolina Panthers at Qwest Field next Sunday. This is a game the Seahawks must win since the Rams won in Denver and now are ahead of Seattle in the NFC West.
I don’t feel as confident this Monday as I did last Monday. How could Seattle look so unprepared? How could they execute so poorly? I feel that Pete Carroll has done some good here but is this the extent of his rah-rah heroics?
We’ll know a lot more next Monday. What is that feeling of dread I have?Powered by Sidelines